On the Catholic Priesthood

Tuesday November 05, 2019

Fifth Day: The Sufferings of Purgatory

The sufferings of Purgatory are twofold: the pain of loss, and the torture of the senses; both in proportion to temporal punishment unremitted. Having committed sin, the soul has turned away from God, thus increasing the pain of loss, or according to our ideas, God departs from that soul and deprives her of His beatific vision. By sin, the souls has been attached to creatures, making improper use of them, displeasing to God, hence the severe punishment, consisting in the pain of the senses. God permits that those who have abandoned their Creator, and bestowed their affections upon creatures, are chastised, by the same, for we read in the Book of Wisdom: "By what things a man sinneth, by the same also is he tormented." (Wis. XI.17)

God has not revealed, nor has the Church ever taught in what manner or to what extent the souls in Purgatory suffer, but it is the opinion of the holy Fathers and Doctors of the Church that what St. Paul writes to the Corinthians, (1, III. 15.) "But he himself shall be saved: yet so as by fire," must he taken in a literal sens, which is accepted also by St. Thomas Aquinas .

Prayer: O Lord, by Thine infinite love and clemency, graciously grant to the suffering souls in Purgatory remittance of their punishment. Receive them into Thy eternal glory, that blessed by Thy beatific vision, they may praise and adore Thee forever and ever. Amen

Prayer for Priests in Purgatory: My Jesus, by the sorrows Thou didst suffer in Thine Agony in the Garden, in Thy Scourging and Crowning with thorns, in the Way to Calvary, in Thy Crucifixion and Death, have mercy on the souls of priests in Purgatory, especially those most forgotten and who have no one else to pray for them. I wish to remember all those priests who ministered to me, the priests my heart has never forgotten, and for those that I no longer recall due to my frailty of memory. Do Thou deliver them from the dire torments they endure; call them and admit them to Thy most sweet embrace in Paradise.

Pope Saint Pius X and Saint John Vianney, pray for us and especially for our priests. Amen

Special Intercession: Pray for the souls of those who have suffered the longest time in Purgatory.

Lord grant them eternal rest, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen. (Three times)

Practice: Do not let human respect prevent you from performing a duty.

Invocation: My Jesus, mercy!

Source: Manual of the Purgatorian Society, Redemptorist Fathers. 1907


Monday November 04, 2019

Fourth Day: Expiation for Venial Sins and Imperfections

 The judgments of God are very different from the judgments of men. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts: nor your ways My ways,:" saith the Lord. "For as the heavens are exalted above the earth, so are My ways exalted above your ways, and My thoughts above your thoughts." (Is. LV. 8-9) Though the judgments of God are severe, they are ever just. "Unto whomsoever much is given, of him much shall be required." (Luke XII. 48) And St. Gregory the Great says: "Where grace has been augmented, there, also, the account has been increased." From those souls, upon whom God has bestowed great and special graces, He demands a faithful co-operation, and the least infidelity to such grace is punished with extreme severity: the purgation or cleansing of these favored souls must be perfect in proportion to the high degree of glory to which they are to be exalted. in reference to prayer for the suffering souls, who are in Purgatory for venial sins and imperfections, we must observe that, though their time of suffering is comparatively short, and their punishment less rigorous, their pain and agony is more intense, owing to their yearning desire of perfect union with God. They are in utmost need of our fervent prayers, and will show their gratitude by their petitions for us before the throne of God, according to the speedy assistance we have given them during our earthly lives.

Prayer: Inflame within us, O Lord, the fire of Thy Divine Love, that all our inordinate desires may be consumed here upon earth, thus rendering our prayers for the suffering souls in Purgatory more acceptable to Thee and beneficial to them. Though Christ Our Lord. Amen

Prayer for Priests in Purgatory: My Jesus, by the sorrows Thou didst suffer in Thine Agony in the Garden, in Thy Scourging and Crowning with thorns, in the Way to Calvary, in Thy Crucifixion and Death, have mercy on the souls of priests in Purgatory, especially those most forgotten and who have no one else to pray for them. I wish to remember all those priests who ministered to me, the priests my heart has never forgotten, and for those that I no longer recall due to my frailty of memory. Do Thou deliver them from the dire torments they endure; call them and admit them to Thy most sweet embrace in Paradise.

Pope Saint Pius X and Saint John Vianney, pray for us and especially for our priests. Amen

Special Intercession: Pray for the souls of those who have suffered for the longest time in Purgatory.

Lord grant them eternal rest, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. (Three times)

Practice: Do not let human respect prevent you from performing a duty. 

Invocation: My Jesus, mercy!

Source: Manual of the Purgatorian Society, Redemptorist Fathers. 1907

Sunday November 03, 2019

Third Day: The Doctrine of Purgatory

The destiny awaiting us at death is not the same for all men: "He will render to every man according to his works." (Matthew XVI. 27) Heaven, Hell and Purgatory are the three places into which the souls of the departed are received. Heaven is the happy destination of perfectly pure and holy souls only; Hell the final doom of the reprobate; Purgatory, temporarily for the just, who are not, as yet, entirely purified. There God completes the punishment due to their faults, which were not sufficiently atoned for on earth; there He submits these holy souls to the last purgation, to cleanse them from the least stain, and, by fire, to bring them to that degree of perfected purity, which is necessary for them before being admitted to eternal bliss.

Hence there are two classes of souls in Purgatory:

1. Those who depart this life, stained by venial sins and imperfections. 

2. Those who have repented, and if possible, confessed their mortal sins without, however, having done sufficient penance for them. Judging from our lives, experience teaches us that most men deserve Purgatory for both causes.

Prayer: Graciously hear, O Lord, the fervent prayers we offer Thee for the suffering souls in Purgatory, who, not being able to satisfy Thy divine justice, confide in Thine infinite mercy and our intercessions. Extend unto them Thy consolations, and redeem them, through Christ, our Lord. Amen

Prayer for Priests in Purgatory: My Jesus, by the sorrows Thou didst suffer in Thine Agony in the Garden, in Thy Scourging and Crowning with thorns, in the Way to Calvary, in Thy Crucifixion and Death, have mercy on the souls of priests in Purgatory, especially those most forgotten and who have no one else to pray for them. I wish to remember all those priests who ministered to me, the priests my heart has never forgotten, and for those that I no longer recall due to my frailty of memory. Do Thou deliver them from the dire torments they endure; call them and admit them to Thy most sweet embrace in Paradise.

Pope Saint Pius X and Saint John Vianney, pray for us and especially for our priests. Amen

Special Intercession: Pray for the souls of those who suffer in Purgatory for little faults.
Lord grant them eternal rest  and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen (Three times)

Practice: Be conscientious and faithful in the performance of little duties and offer the inconvenience for the suffering souls.

Invocation: My Jesus, mercy!

Source: Manual of the Purgatorian Society, Redemptorist Fathers. 1907


Saturday November 02, 2019

Second Day: Anniversary of "All-Souls"

The anniversary of "All-Souls" was instituted by the Church as a day of special prayer for all the faithful departed who are as yet deprived of the blissful contemplation of God, and the possession of Heaven. These holy souls endure most agonizing torments, and count the lingering moments of time, while awaiting release from prison, or, at least, some relief in their intense pain. They have special confidence in their friends and relatives upon earth, hoping to be lovingly cherished in their memory, and aided by their fervent prayers. With holy Job they cry out: "Have pity on me, have pity on me, at least you, my friends, because the hand of the Lord hath touched me." (Job XIX, 21.)

The anniversary of All-Souls should serve to revive and confirm our devotion in behalf of the suffering souls in Purgatory, and induce us to make ample amends for our neglect of this duty during the year. "A gift hath grace in the sight of all the living, and restrain not grace from the dead." (Eccl. VII. 37.)

Prayer: O God, Creator and Redeemer of all the faithful, grant to the souls of Thy servants pardon of all their sins, that by pious supplications they may graciously obtain the remission they have always desired, Thou Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.

Prayer for Priests in Purgatory: My Jesus, by the sorrows Thou didst suffer in Thine Agony in the Garden, in Thy Scourging and Crowning with thorns, in the Way to Calvary, in Thy Crucifixion and Death, have mercy on the souls of priests in Purgatory, especially those most forgotten and who have no one else to pray for them. I wish to remember all those priests who ministered to me, the priests my heart has never forgotten, and for those that I no longer recall due to my frailty of memory. Do Thou deliver them from the dire torments they endure; call them and admit them to Thy most sweet embrace in Paradise.

Special Intercession: Pray for the souls of those who suffer the greatest torments. Lord grant them eternal rest, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen. (three times)

Practice: Examine how often, and in what manner you have practiced prayer for the souls in Purgatory during the year.

Invocation: My Jesus, mercy!

Source: Manual of the Purgatorian Society, Redemptorist Fathers. 1907

Friday November 01, 2019

First Day: Prayers for the Holy Souls


One of the most consoling doctrines of the Catholic Church is that of the Communion of Saints. All, the saints in Heaven, we upon earth, the souls in Purgatory, are members of one great family. By this "bond of perfection" which unites the Suffering and Triumphant Church with the Militant Church upon earth, incorporating them into one body, mutual charity becomes an obligation. This reciprocal love, being the duty of all men, renders it imperative that all should pray for one another, for in this general prayer, offered mutually, Christian charity is most beautifully and eloquently expressed.

From this general obligation we derive the special duty to pray for the suffering souls in Purgatory, who are unable in their extreme distress to do aught for their own relief. It has always been the belief of Holy Church that the faithful, united in the Communion of Saints, can mutually assist each other. As the saints in Heaven pray for us, so must we also offer our petitions for the suffering souls in Purgatory, that God in His goodness and mercy, may mitigate and shorten their punishment, and hasten their entrance into Heaven. It is the doctrine of the Church that the faithful upon earth are really able to relieve the temporal punishment of the holy souls in Purgatory. "In this," says the Roman Catechism, "we must praise the infinite goodness and mercy of God with greatest thankfulness, that He has granted to human weakness the grace that one can make satisfaction for another."

Prayer: O Lord Jesus Christ, Thou Who hast said, "Where there are two or three gathered together in My name, there Am I in the midst of them," (Matthew XVIII. 20) look mercifully upon Thy holy Church, who implores Thy clemency in behalf of her suffering members. End their intense pain, and open unto them the portals of the heavenly Jerusalem, that they may praise and bless Thee forever and ever. Amen

Prayer for Priests in Purgatory: My Jesus, by the sorrows Thou didst suffer in Thine Agony in the Garden, in Thy Scourging and Crowning with thorns, in the Way to Calvary, in Thy Crucifixion and Death, have mercy on the souls of priests in Purgatory, especially those most forgotten and who have no one else to pray for them. I wish to remember all those priests who ministered to me, the priests my heart has never forgotten, and for those that I no longer recall due to my frailty of memory. Do Thou deliver them from the dire torments they endure; call them and admit them to Thy most sweet embrace in Paradise.

Pope Saint Pius X and Saint John Vianney, pray for us and especially for our priests. Amen

Special Intercession: Pray for those who, during the course of their earthly lives, did most to relieve the souls in  Purgatory.

Lord grant them eternal rest, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen. (three times)

Practice: Attend the public devotion for the sufferings souls.

Invocation: My Jesus, mercy!

Source: Manual of the Purgatorian Society, Redemptorist Fathers. 1907

Wednesday October 23, 2019

Church Postures

Ye would not sit at ease while meek men kneel
Did ye but see His face shine though the veil,
And the unearthly forms that round you steal,
Hidden in beauteous light, splendent or pale
As the rich Service leads. And prostrate faith
Shroudeth her timorous eye, while through the air
Hovers and hands the Spirit's cleansing Breath
In Whitsun shapes o'er each true worshiper.
Deep wreaths of Angels, burning from the East,
Around the consecrated Shrine are braced,
The awful Stone where by fit hands are placed
The Flesh and Blood of the tremendous Feast.
But kneel - the priest upon the Altar-stair
Will bring a blessing out of Sion there.

Source: Poems by Fr. Frederick W. Faber

Tuesday October 22, 2019

The Papacy

That such a Power should live and breather, doth seem
A thought from which men fain would be relieved,
A grandeur not to be endured, a dream
Darkening the souls, though it be unbelieved.
August conception! far above king, law,
Or popular right; how calmly doth thou draw
Under thine awful shadow mortal pain,
And joy not mortal! Witness of a need
Deep laid in man, and therefore pierced in vain,
As though thou wert no form that thou shouldst bleed!
While such a power there lives in old man's shape,
Such and so dread, should not his mighty will
And supernatural presence, godlike fill
The air we breathe, and leave us no escape?

Source: Poems by Fr. Frederick W. Faber

Monday October 21, 2019

The Deplorable Results of Ignorance in a Priest

The ignorance of priests and the disorders which follow upon it very largely account for the loss of faith and morals in a country.

This the enemies of the Church know perfectly well. When at the outbreak of the French Revolution the clergy were called upon to take the oath to the Civil Constitution, Mirabeau said: Educated priests will refuse to take this oath, and once we have driven them out and brought the cloisters into disrepute, we can replace them with men destitute of faith and morals, who will do more to aid us in robbing France of her Catholicity than we can possibly do with all our decrees.

Source: Jesus Living in the Priest: Considerations on the Greatness and Holiness of the Priesthood by Rev. Jacques Millet S.J., 1901

Saturday October 19, 2019

The Church

Who is she that stands triumphant,
Rock in strength, upon the Rock,
Like some city crowned with turrets,
Braving storm and earthquake shock?
Who is she her arms extending
In blessing o'er a world restored;
All the anthems of creation
Lifting to creation's Lord?


Hers the kingdom, hers the scepter,
Kneel, ye nations, at her feet;
Hers that Truth whose fruit is Freedom;
Light her yoke; her burthen sweet!


As the moon that takes its splendor
From a sun unseen all night,
So from Christ, the Sun of Justice,
Evermore she draws her light.
Hers alone the hands of healing,
The Bread of Life, th'absolving Key;
The Word Incarnate is her Bridegroom,
The Spirit hers, His temple, she.


Hers the kingdom, hers the scepter,
Kneel, ye nations, at her feet;
Hers that Truth whose fruits is Freedom;
Light her yoke; her burthen sweet!


Empires rise and sink like billows;
Their place knoweth them no more:
Glorious as the star of morning
She o'erlooks the wild uproar.
Hers the household all embracing"
Hers the Vine that shadows earth:
Blest thy children, mighty mother,
Safe the stranger at thy hearth;


Hers the kingdom, hers the scepter,
Kneel, ye nations, at her feet;
Hers that Truth whose fruit is Freedom;
Light her yoke; her burthen sweet.

Source: The Holy Family Manual,Sisters of Notre Dame, Ohio 1883

Friday October 18, 2019

Chastity

Jesus Christ having so dignified chastity in His own person left it to His priests as the most beautiful adornment of their priesthood and the greatest glory of their ministry. A priest whose reputation is clean and whose morals are pure is dear to the heart of God and useful to His Church; whereas, on the contrary, a priest whose morals are not beyond  reproach, a pastor who is not chaste, what sort of a priest, what sort of a pastor is he?

Source: Jesus Living in the Priest: Considerations on the Greatness and Holiness of the Priesthood, By Rev. Jacques Millet 1901

Thursday October 17, 2019

Zeal

Whoever the priest is who does not strive to do something more than his predecessors have done, who does not seek out new means by which to draw men from the torrent of iniquity in which they are being lost, is a priest who suffers himself to be beaten by the wicked, and a pastor who sleeps while the wolves are devastating his fold. 

Be up and doing, then ye priests and pastors of souls; set to work promptly with all earnestness and zeal to do something for these men. 

Source: Jesus Living in the Priest: Considerations on the Greatness and Holiness of the Priesthood by Rev. Jacques Millet, S.J. 1901

Wednesday October 16, 2019

Forward!

My God, if only priests clearly understood and fully appreciated the tremendous power which unity of doctrine, unity of hierarchy and, above all, their divine mission confer upon them; if only they had a living faith and an abiding trust in Him from whom they received their mission; if only they worked with the zeal, charity and disinterestedness of the first Apostles, the whole world would be subdued and kneel at their feet. They are more potent than statesmen with all their political craft and subterfuge; they are more potent than even kings and emperors with their armies; they are the depositories of a great moral force which alone can move the world.

Forward, then, O priests of the Lord; forward, with the sword of the Word and the shield of faith, all obedient to the same Head, all animated with the same spirit; diocesan priests and regulars, young men with the oil of consecration still fresh upon your hands, old men, veterans of the Sanctuary, forward, as one man; vice and error will flee at your approach, victory will be yours and the world will be saved.

Source: Jesus Living in the Priest: Considerations on the Greatness and Holiness of the Priesthood by Rev. Jacques Millet, S.J. 1901

Tuesday October 15, 2019

Vocation to Missions Among the Infidels

  And He spoke to them this parable, saying, What man of you that hath an hundred sheep,
 and if he shall lose one of them, doth he not leave the ninety-nine in the desert, and go
after that which was lost till he find it ? And when he hath found it, lay it upon his shoulders,
rejoicing." — St. Luke xv. 3—5.

 Go after that which was lost.
 In this Parable Jesus Christ indicates Himself, Who (says St. Gregory) left the choirs of
Angels in Heaven, and, in order to fill up the number of His flock in Heaven, sought lost
man upon earth. And the Priest who leaves the charge of devout souls in order to visit
 the land of infidels, and to seek the salvation of those lost souls towards whom Jesus
has such compassion, is a follower of this Good Shepherd, Who came down upon earth
 to seek the lost sheep.

Most necessary is it to have pity on those who are perishing (says St. Cyril). This is a most
 noble vocation, for it is similar to that of the Son of God ; most glorious is this destiny, which
 renders the Missionary a partaker of the Apostolate. The Apostles were to "sit upon thrones "
 (St. Luke xxii. 30) — to be " the salt of the earth," "the light of the world," "the light put upon a
candle-stick" (St. Matt. v. 13, 14, 15); and the rewards promised to them — " the hundredfold "
of that which they had left, and the thrones" on which they should "judge the twelve tribes of Israel"
(St. Matt. xix. 28) — represent the infinite value of the recompense reserved for them, and for all
those who are partakers  of the Apostolical ministry. Happy those who " are numbered with them
and have part in this ministry" (Acts i. 17) ! whereas to many others God says, " Thou hast no part
nor lot in this matter, for thy heart is not right in the sight of  God " (Acts viii. 2 1 ).
What worldly glory can be put in comparison with that of a man thus truly Apostolical ?
 How many good works, what great virtue, what abundant merits, are his! How sweet will death
 become to him ! How superabundant his happiness in Heaven !

Source: Meditations for the Use of the Clergy by the Oblates of St. Charles





Monday October 14, 2019

The Priesthood of the Word made flesh

St. Cyril of Jerusalem teaches that Christ was Priest before all ages,
 anointed by the Father in His eternal generation, so that His Priesthood 
had not its beginning in time, but is immutable. This Priesthood consisted
 not in humiliations, in sufferings, in prayers, but in knowing the Father,
 in acknowledging Him as the source of the Godhead, and Himself as true God 
of true God. It consisted (according to St. Thomas) in saying to Him,
 "Thou art my Father," " I am in Thee, and Thou in Me; I love Thee and honor
 Thee with an infinite love and infinite glory; for infinite is the love 
which Thou bearest Me, and infinite the glory which Thou hast communicated to Me." 

He united this Priesthood with His temporal Priesthood when He assumed human nature;
taking from us (as St. Augustin says) that which 
He would offer for us. The Word (says St. Ambrose) appeared clothed with flesh, in His 
dignity of King and of Judge, and full of sacerdotal justice. Our guilt could not be 
cancelled without a sacrifice, and therein a sacrifice was sought. The Son (says St. Gregory)
took our nature, but not our sin, and offered Himself a sinless Victim. His Incarnation 
was itself a Sacrifice which lasted His whole mortal life, was consummated upon the Cross,
and is continued in glory at the Right Hand of the Father, and on our altars on earth.
In the womb of Mary (says Dionysius of Alexandria) the King of Glory was made a High 
Priest; and He continueth such for ever, now that He has entered once into the Holies,
having obtained eternal redemption.

 Let us adore our great High Priest, in Whose hands is our salvation. 

Source: Meditations For the use of the Clergy, Oblates of St. Charles 


Sunday October 13, 2019

Do Not Be Afraid

Do not be afraid, if you find yourselves in the minority. "Woe to you when men shall bless you!" You must be censured if you are the disciples of Jesus Christ. The world that hated Him will not love you. "The disciple is not above his master, not the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord." "If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more them of his household?" And therefore, if you have the mark of the world's hatred upon you, accept it; press it to your bosom. It is the token that you are the disciples of the true and only Master. If you have the world's favor and sunshine, look to yourselves.

There is a dark future before the world. What it may be, God alone knows. The Church will have to suffer; but there is a light upon it, and that light can never fade. We are in evil times, marked deeply by the four great evils of which I have spoken. Around us are "evil men and seducers, who grow worse and worse, erring, and driving into error. " "Many shall come in my name," our Lord has said, "and seduce many"; and because of their iniquity the love and the charity of the many shall wax cold. Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be wars and pestilences in many places. But the end is not yet. This is only the beginning of troubles. Keep close to the footsteps of the Master who spoke those words; and, when these signs are in the sky and upon the earth, remember that He also said, "When these things begin to come to pass, look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption is at hand."

Source: Catholic Oratory, Discourse from the pulpit, Cardinal Manning 1891

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